by Jeff Hensley, President, North Coast Building Industry Association

Lighting completely changes the look and feel of any room.

Your choice of fixtures, where you place them – even your choice of bulbs – affects the overall mood and functionality of your home. With a few simple concepts in mind, you can light up your home in a way that is useful, stylish and efficient all at once.

Think of Lighting in Layers – First, establish ambient overhead lighting as a base layer, a sort of primer for the tone of the room. Whether it’s warm or bright, this layer of light sets the overall mood.

Second, think about the function of the room. How do you spend time in this room, and what do you accomplish there? Use task lighting to illuminate certain areas for their specific functions.

Lastly, think about what features of the room you love most. Use accent lighting to draw attention to a painting or architectural detail – or to be a decorative feature in itself.

As you begin to establish pleasing, functional layers of lighting, you can infuse them with your own unique style.

Ambient Lighting – For an inconspicuous, minimalist approach to ambient light, consider recessed ceiling lights or track lighting. The number of lights, their direction and a dimmer switch make it easy to customize the amount and intensity of light.

Pendant lighting – comes in many different shapes and sizes and is a great way to create ambient light with fixtures that make a statement. You can suspend multiple light fixtures from the ceiling at varying heights, which adds dimension and visual interest to the room.

The fixtures can reflect any trend or style. To accomplish a rustic look, try staggering a row of oversized bare light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. You could even cover some with mason jars to emphasize the homey quality of this look.

For a more industrial feel, consider going with a metal fixture in either a geometric, cage-like style or a more solid, basin-like structure.

Chandeliers, a classic source of ambient lighting, remain popular. Add a modern flare to this traditional piece by using one in an unexpected place such as in a bathroom or in an unusual material.

Task Lighting – In a living area, this lighting layer might include a table lamp as a focal point to establish an inviting conversation area. A floor lamp next to a comfy chair is just the thing for curling up with a magazine or book.

One of the hottest lighting trends uses long-lasting, energy-efficient LED light strips to softly illuminate rooms from hidden sources. By placing an LED light strip under each overhead cabinet in your kitchen, you can brighten up the countertops where you chop vegetables or make a sandwich.

Accent Lighting – Use accent lighting to draw focus to details in a room. Try placing simple, uncomplicated wall sconces around your favorite piece of wall art and watch as it suddenly becomes a brilliant focal point.

To highlight wall textures or architectural details you love, consider more atypical sconces in interesting shapes that can both show off the elements of your home and stand alone as eye-catching pieces.

By taking these lighting tips, layering them together and infusing them with your own special style, you can completely transform your space and fully accomplish your unique vision for your home.

Please feel free to use the NCBIA as a resource for any needs that you may have, chances are we have a member that can assist you.   Give us a call Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 440-934-1090.  The North Coast BIA is your local not-for-profit trade association representing member companies involved in all aspects of home building, remodeling, and other aspects of residential and light commercial construction.  For a list of members visit